Voices Empower

“Did Congress Listen?”

DONNA GARNER - Educator for 33 years and was appointed by President Reagan, Now Activist Writer

By Donna Garner

Many people and organizations, including the Heritage Foundation and Pioneer Institute, have tried to get Congress to focus on the federal government’s takeover of the public schools.  In one more attempt to get Congress’ attention, Heritage/Pioneer decided to hold a conference right there in Washington, D. C.  on 7.27.11 and entitled the conference “National Standards and Tests: An Unprecedented Federal Overreach.”

The introductory speaker was Robert Scott, Texas Education Commissioner. Scott’s comments were not dry and boring.  He explained early-on that he has downsized the Texas Education Agency by 40% and that the federal government can and should do the same.

Commissioner Scott looks to be a young and inexperienced young man, but he is actually the proud father of one public high-school student who is going off to college this fall with another sibling who is graduating from high school in December.  Commissioner Scott is bright as can be and should never be taken lightly.

Gov. Rick Perry appointed Robert Scott as Chief Deputy Commissioner on Oct. 16, 2007, but Scott had already worked at the Agency and in political environments for many years.

Scott is the best, most honest education commissioner Texas has had in my lifetime. It was Scott’s decision to put the Texas Education Agency’s checkbook register online, and the TEA was the first department of education in the United States to do so.

Not only is he an innovative education expert, but he is also an attorney who knows education law backwards and forwards.

Because of his legal background and because he is a specialist in education law, Commissioner Scott made a credible case to support the theme of the Heritage/Pioneer conference — the overreach of the federal government through national standards, curriculum, assessments, and database.

Here is the link to the video of the speakers at the Heritage/Pioneer event. The introduction ofCommissioner Scott begins at 1:22, and his presentation ends at 28:00.  Please be sure to hit the word “Play” under the screen if the video does not start right away:   


National Standards and Tests: An Unprecedented Federal Overreach

Other outstanding speakers at the Heritage/Pioneer event included Sandra Stotsky (Endowed Chair in Teacher Quality, Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas), Theodor Rebarber (CEO of AccountabilityWorks), Ze’ev Wurman (Business Leader, Silicon Valley, California), Williamson M. Evers (Research Fellow and Member of the K–12 Education Task Force, The Hoover Institution), and James Stergios (Executive Director, The Pioneer Institute (Moderator).



Comment by Donna Garner, 8.4.11: 

Obama spent $100 Billion on Common Core Standards/Race to the Top in the ARRA Stimulus Package. He spent $350 Million for the development of the national assessments. He spent $4.35 Billion for Race to the Top (2010 FYI), and he plans to spend $1.35 Billion for RTTT in (2011 FYI). What better place is there for Congress to cut spending than to dump Common Core Standards/Race to the Top?  


Congress, will you please listen to us?

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